Disability Inclusion Action Plan progress previewed

Members of Council's Disability Inclusion Reference Group at the launchMembers of Council's Disability Inclusion Reference Group at the launch 2017

Central Coast Council has released a community report, Making the Coast and Council Inclusive and Accessible, which highlights the year one progress from Council’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP).

Mayor, Jane Smith, said Council has implemented a number of actions over the last 12 months to improve inclusiveness and accessibility on the Coast. “Implementing a plan with strategies and actions that enable people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of community life creates a sense of belonging and inclusion, which is one of the key goals from our Community Strategic Plan,” Mayor Smith said. Council’s Director of Connected Communities, Julie Vaughan, said creating an inclusive and accessible community involves developing positive community attitudes and behaviours, creating liveable communities, supporting access to meaningful employment, and improving access to services through better systems and processes.

“These are the four strategies of Council’s DIAP 2017-2021. “Council has a dedicated Disability Inclusion Officer to oversee the implementation of the DIAP, and to provide subject matter expertise and support to the business units that are responsible for implementing the actions. “To create liveable communities, some of the implemented actions include the completion of access audits for 72 Council owned assets, purchase of new beach wheelchairs, building a new accessible waterway pontoon and pathways to fishing platforms, installation of wheelchair accessible picnic facilities, preparation of a draft Pedestrian and Access Mobility Plan, the continued delivery of inclusive and accessible playgrounds, and participation in the working group for the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play initiative,” Vaughan said.

According to Vaughan, a number of delivered actions developed positive attitudes and behaviours, both within Council and the broader community. These include the introduction of awareness and educational staff training programs, and Council partnership with local groups to run awareness campaigns through art initiatives and exhibitions. “Council has improved access to service and information by creating better systems and processes. “A new website, compatible to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, has been prepared with Vision Australia engaged to test content, including listing of accessible playgrounds.

“New hearing loops have been installed at both Council chambers to improve accessibility. “Council is an equal opportunity employer and now includes accessibility statements in job vacancy advertisements, and provides reasonable adjustment needs for job applicants whilst continuing to support staff living with disabilities. “I am pleased with the successful implementation of a number of DIAP actions under each community focused strategy, and to see the momentum grow as we now progress through the plan’s second year,” Vaughan said.

Source: Media release, Nov 7 Central Coast Council Media